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> @StickyJesus 1) you: born for such a time as this

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Written by Wanda Simpson

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wavesIn celebration of Internet Evangelism Month, this is the fourth in a 15-part blog project discussing the book, @stickyJesus: how to live out your faith online.

I go to the beach every day and marvel at God’s creation. Here’s the funny thing. I don’t live near the beach.  Not only that, but I can listen to a sermon from a pastor in Atlanta or Nashville or Los Angeles, whenever I want. What’s even better is that I am able to share these things with my friends and family, and, if you can believe it, followers! Who am I to have followers?

In my work life, I am a jack of all trades with technology and multimedia for training.  Somewhere along the way, I noticed there were Christian bloggers tweeting. I started to follow. And I started to wonder, what kind of impact could this have locally for my church. One weekend, I uploaded a website, opened a Facebook and Twitter account for our church. Then I saw @StickyJesus on one of my Twitter feeds. The digital dialogue I had created merely as an information dump for the congregation had the potential for community development and outreach.

you are my light

Chapter 1’s sub-title is the land is shiny, but you are my light. Who doesn’t like shiny, new things? I am an admitted geek. But it’s not the technology, but the light that drives the technology.  And here’s the real news, we are that light! And we can be powered up by the Holy Spirit to open a conversation with the world about Jesus in ways that are personal and compelling.

We have instantaneous access to information on any topic. I have the Bible on my phone! And people are searching. Google is the tool of choice for answers to life’s questions instead of God.  God is the One who has set us on this quest.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (Today’s NIV ©2005)

And so the desperate search rages on, but the answers the world provides does not give comfort or lasting results. But as Christians, we have the access to the answers and can reach a larger audience than ever before.

People are hungering for human connection, and that is why social networks are exploding.  And that is why Jesus needs to be on Facebook and Twitter. He has the answers. He has given us the answers and now we are to go out into the wide open mission fields and harvest.

Discussion

The final paragraph in Chapter 1 of @StickyJesus asks some important questions.

  1. How do you follow Jesus in a web-based world and lead others to do the same?
  2. How do you deliver the only message that matters?

We are mandated by Jesus to be a light and spread the gospel. I can do that on my porch or my living room to reach people across the street and across the world. What an exciting time to be alive!

@StickyJesus project –> @StickyJesus 2) Jesus: the stickiest story ever told" rel="bookmark" href="https://www.ourchurch.com/blog/2011/05/06/stickyjesus-2-jesus-the-stickiest-story-ever-told/">2) Jesus: the stickiest story ever told

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    About the author

    Wanda Simpson

    A wife, mother and geek looking to share Jesus with my corner of the world! On Twitter as @wls1961, Facebook administrator for WhitehouseFMC and web administrator for whitehouse-fmc.org.

    33 Comments

    • Wanda, I love how God gently revealed to you the possibilities there are as a believer in this time and space. He leads us to the places He wants us to be and then gives us the power and the boldness to connect where a connection needs to be made. I stepped into the stream with a publisher's mindset, trying to understand how this new 'platform' would impact the future of the industry I served. Once I did, God almost immediately stirred my heart and mind about the future He had planned here. You are absolutely right – What an exciting time to be alive.

      Regardless of where we are or what we're doing, it's our choice to accept His mandate and our assignment. When we show up faithfully with deliberate intention, He empowers us with discernment and the ability to redirect the topic of countless conversations. Every time we log on, we disrupt the flow of the world by guiding people to the places where Christ is acknowledged and glorified. We have The Message and online is another place to make it known!

      Thanks for being part of this project and among the Christ followers committed to mobilizing other believers online – all we do – we do for Him.

      • Thanks Tami. God has blessed me with the ability to learn technology quickly. As Christians, we need to be part of the conversation, not just pushing information on people without any connection or feeling. There are so many ways to share online, and I believe this is only the beginning.

    • Great questions Wanda, I love your statement in the beginning…"who am I to have followers". Every time I get a notice that someone is following me on Twitter I think how cool is that.

      I follow Jesus in a web based world by following others who follow Jesus. I follow Jesus also by following others who don't follow Jesus, and looking for ways to pray for them or offer up an encouraging note.

      I did learn a lot from this chapter and the introduction, and one way I learned that I can deliver "the only message that matters" is to remember that my voice online is "wholly (and holy) indispensable!" (page 2) Amen.

      • I find it funny that people debate whether Jesus would use Facebook or Twitter. As pointed out in Chap. 1 of @StickyJesus, He said to Peter and Andrew, Follow me, and they did. We need to be leaders and followers in this world!

      • "I follow Jesus also by following others who don't follow Jesus" <~~ Love that!

    • The greatest difficulty about sharing the message that matters online is that people tend to become characters in online forums. Something a person wouldn't necessarily say out loud they can say online because it seems less real for some reason. Christians have the opportunity to look like we have it together with no one really being able to say otherwise. I personally share the message by being as genuine as possible for all that some days it's a whole heck of a lot more difficult than others.

      • My approach as well….But being genuine can be risky you know. But that's EXACTLY how I believe Jesus would be online. He wasn't one to "puff up" or placate the condition of the world or "sell" the people around Him. He also identified with suffering and pain readily. I think we endanger the message of salvation 10-fold when we act like we have it all together as Christias. We never need to appear perfect or think that God's message of Salvation and winning others to "our side" is about crafting the perfect image. Jesus came to save the messed up ones—not the pristine. People will bounce off of our perfection if we fail to find common ground in our shared frailty.

        The Word is powerful and the Holy Spirit is chasing down hearts as we speak—with or without our help (or appearances).

        Keeping it real in our online communities is critical. Great comment, and great post today! 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment! People indeed can create an online personna, good or bad, as is the case with most things in life. What God can and will use for good, others will use to inflict harm. The message is crucial and I tend to be very careful and simple with my words, because online, they have an eternal life of their own. I stress this all the time, especially to people who are leaders in the church. It can destroy your ministry if your online life doesn't match your Christian testimony.

    • Thank you for your post Wanda. I liked the description “the land of shiny things”. It is a good indication of how many distractions can be incurred online. I have also enjoyed reading the comments.

      In response to your questions I believe that following Jesus in a web-based world requires each of us to make a choice. As a believer I need to choose to be true to my faith, be real even in a virtual world, use discernment and be transparent with what I share. Jesus led by example which to me is the best example.

    • Wanda, thanks for writing today's post and leading the discussion.

      I think "the land of shiny things" amplifies a lot of the challenges and opportunities of modern life. There are so many temptations for distration, narcisism, putting up a false front, and self-promotion. Yet becaue the Internet is so "shiny," if those of us who follow Jesus demonstrate genuine humility, authenticity, and love we will stand out and have opportunities to connect with others, build relationships, and make a real difference in people's lives.

      • Paul, relationship is the key to building connection to people and that is what I believe Jesus wants from us and for each other. Relationships. People are searching and commenting and we have to be able to fill their longings with the hope that Jesus offers.

    • i so love this quote from the book: “you stand here as a Christ follower in a definitive moment in time you are an ordinary person called to usher a holy Kingdom into a n increasingly fragmented world. its the perfect scenario for God to move in big ways just as He always has. Just as god called Esther, Joseph and Paul to go before the world’s kings at appointed times to alter history, He now calls you to log on and upload what’s critical to today’s conversation. while everything changes at warp speed, the holy mandate remains to communicate the gospel in the most relevant channels available, here, there and everywhere!”

      i love what you've written wanda! – i esp love "And we can be powered up by the Holy Spirit to open a conversation with the world about Jesus in ways that are personal and compelling." and i agree re the question "who am i to have followers?" i sometimes wonder if its very much a "follow me because i follow christ" with a different context now. i love how we can connect with people and esp christian leaders in such a personal real way now, esp for me as i live in New Zealand which sometimes does seem like the ends of the earth!

      i've updated/rewritten a post from the first readalong i was involved in with more thoughts about this chapter… http://onepassiononedevotion.wordpress.com/2011/0

      • This is the truly amazing part of this first chapter. We have been given an opportunity to go to the ends of the earth to spread the Word of Jesus without leaving home. As technology becomes accessible in the darkest corners, every nation will be able to hear Jesus preached in their own language in their own homes! I am grateful to be able to do a little thing and see big things happen. Thanks for comment.